Friday, April 30, 2010

But who watches those who watch us?

Jose Campos Torres.

Randy Webster.

Ida Lee Delaney.

If you don't know these names then you are missing out on some of the sordid history of the Houston Police Department. Mr. Torres was handcuffed, beaten and tossed into Buffalo Bayou where he drowned. Randy Webster was shot in the head and the police left a "throw down" weapon at the scene. Ms. Delaney was shot and killed by an off-duty officer during an episode of road rage.

We can also add the story of Chad Holly, a 16 year-old beaten by eight officers (on video), to the list of victims of the Houston Police Department. Mr. Holly survived his ordeal but spent 12 hours in the hospital being treated for his injuries. But for the video camera at a storage facility, the truth of what happened that night in March might never have been known. And now the FBI wants to see the tape.

Then there's the Chinese diplomat who claims he was injured by three HPD officers in the parking garage of the Chinese consulate on Montrose Boulevard this past weekend. The officers involved have all been placed on desk duty while the investigation continues.

How many more people are out there who were beaten by the police whose stories weren't believed? who didn't have the benefit of a videotape? What really goes on when there's no one to see?